SkySQL will try to drive MySQL fork, Oracle's ouster

SkySQL will try to drive MySQL fork, Oracle's ouster

Summary: The creation of SkySQL -- a virtual spinoff of MySQL (pre-Sun, pre-Oracle)-- was as inevitable as LibreOffice. The community simply doesn't trust that Oracle will be a good steward of open source software and is acting quickly to preserve top open source projects.


The creation of SkySQL -- a virtual spinoff of MySQL (pre-Sun, pre-Oracle)-- was as inevitable as LibreOffice.

The community simply doesn't trust that Oracle will be a good steward of open source software and is acting quickly to preserve top open source projects.

SkySQL, which will provide alternative services and support for the MySQL database, is playing it safe for now. It is not helping found a new open source foundation to sponsor an official MySQL fork, and is not declaring open war on Oracle.

But it appears the gang behind SkySQL  -- a bunch of ex MySQL execs, developers and investors -- will try to wrest control of the open source database business back from the proprietary grasp of Oracle.

The SkySQL Enterprise subscription, launched last week, for example, will support the development of "alternative software" for MySQL as well as offer support mySQL branches such as MariaDB.

The company highlights its more cost effective service and support offerings as the core business model -- yet subtly implies that it would welcome and drive a a bona fide MariaDB fork if demand materializes.

And that demand is already materializing, SkySQL noted in its press release last week.

"SkySQL Ab ...  is committed to furthering the future development of MySQL database technologies, while delivering cost-effective database solutions and exceptional customer service."

SkySQL's CEO makes it clear that he and many other top original MySQL developers believe that MySQL will die under Oracle's control.

“When Sun was acquired by Oracle, there was a collective gasp in the MySQL community,” said Ulf Sandberg, CEO at SkySQL Ab. “MySQL supporters were rightfully anxious that growing the bottom line of big business would take precedence over further investment in the development of the MySQL franchise. In our view, progress of MySQL’s technology has been stymied, leading to a mass exodus for those involved in the technology. SkySQL has become a new haven for MySQL expertise due to our unwavering commitment to providing high quality, expert support of MySQL technology and services on a global scale.”

In other words, the company will survive offering customers more affordable service and support contracts than those proferred by Oracle. Yes, it is committed to becoming the default alternative for Oracle's MySQL software, service and support, and is investing in the cloud opportunity -- hence the Sky in SkySQL, one executive told this ZDNet Blogger.

But make no mistake -- SkySQL will try to regain control over the open source database development. And it looks like they have the clout to do it.

"SkySQL is becoming the new center of the MySQL ecosystem because our foundation of key experts is based on over a hundred years of experience in serving MySQL users commercially," said Kaj Arnö, Executive Vice President of Products, SkySQL Ab. "These experts have joined our company to build a business dedicated to serving the users of MySQL and related technologies with commercial value add, while respecting open source values. Founding the company with these gifted minds puts SkySQL in a unique position to inherit and preserve the principles that made the MySQL database so appealing in the first place."

I asked SkySQL if it will eventually sponsor an official fork of MySQL, and here is the company's official response:

SkySQL is committed to the long term future development of the MySQL database, to ensure that the product will continue to meet the increasing requirements of performance, scalability, reliability and ease of use.  Our current subscription offering already includes support for MariaDB - a branch of the MySQL database.  As adoption of the latter increases, the development and support of MariaDB may get more attention, since it presents a solid technical future roadmap for customers."

Topics: Open Source, Data Centers, Data Management, Enterprise Software, Oracle, Software

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  • 100 years of experience

    That's a great line.

    SkySQL has "over a hundred years of experience in serving MySQL users commercially."

    Wow, 100 years of MySQL experience - that is impressive.
    • RE: SkySQL will try to drive MySQL fork, Oracle's ouster


      100 people with 1 year experience each != 10 people with 10 years experience each...

      i would like to see who makes up that 100+ years of experience
    • That's an asinine assumption!

      @halfstop You miss the whole point of Henry Clay's "American Plan" as it now relates to Open Source. Which was this analogy's premise in the first place. That a consortium of developers would be the best at creating and maintaining such an overwhelming task. If held by one person, one company or one group of developers even, that there is danger of one single entity resting control away in order to kill the competition. In Oracle's case it's to protect their own products. They can't afford to let MySQL get too good and offer a better solution to their customers either. That the best advantages of Open Source MySQL should not be held hostage to one corporation's pig headed and greedy motives! ......that Open Source should never have one master, able to determine it's future and possibly kill it on a whim, to instigate it's dominance over all of it's competition.<br><br>It's therefore a preemptive move to kill any possibility of Oracle attempting to control or dumb down MySQL in the future is a great move and that was assumed was it's sole objective in buying Sun in the first place. To leverage it's best products by buying out it's competition the Microsoft or Apple Way. So the consortium of Open Source developers just took all possibility of that away by pulling the proprietary whips and chains out of the Devil's Hands!!! ......again as did LibreOffice,.... And no doubt makes Oracle look all the more the fool for paying Billions for simply a crippled licensing Java shell left to recoup those Billions off the backs of the Open Source Community, that they no longer have any control over!!!!<br><br>Life's a Biotch when you're a Chicken Thief.... locked in your own cage, while the chickens run free outside your fence!!! 10 chickens with 10yrs experience each just kicked Wily Coyote's arse out of the playground. Leaving them inside their proprietary fantasy looking out through their own chicken Wire fence!
    • RE: SkySQL will try to drive MySQL fork, Oracle's ouster

      @halfstop ya it just sounds dumb.
  • Another home run Paula

    You can't kill open source. Sorry Oracle. Sorry MS.

    And you can bash OpenOffice all you want. That means MS has lost.

    Their fear is that they will lose new market opportunities in Eastern Europe where Folks frequently look to open source for their default solutions.
    Dietrich T. Schmitz, ~ Your Linux Advocate
    • Yeah, but...

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz, Your Linux Advocate Then you end up with 20,000 different forks and versions of the same thing and after a while it gets really confusing. OpenOffice or LibreOffice? MySQL or SkySQL? Which one is better? Which one is the real deal? Are they compatible? Too many instances of the same thing in this case is not really good.
      • RE: SkySQL will try to drive MySQL fork, Oracle's ouster

        @statuskwo5 Usually they all shake out pretty quickly. But competition is good, and is having options. Let me ask you, what do you single source in your company? Yeah, exactly. So why are operating systems and applications an exception?
      • RE: SkySQL will try to drive MySQL fork, Oracle's ouster

        @statuskwo5 It's like religion, Christians attend a church that gets too big, no longer fits their belief system, or in which politics have slowed the effectiveness of the church, then they leave and start another church. They don't worry nobody will be able to find the new building. <br><br>Open source encourages competition and forces large companies to innovate and not just rebrand. The idea is not to create thousands of open forks, but rather to demonstrate to corporations that they can not kill open solutions simply by buying the name rights and letting development falter. I expect a VirtualBox clone will be next, since this is a product which has actually lost functionality and stability since being acquired by Oracle.
        • VirtualBox OSE

          @Socratesfoot <br><br>There has always been an open source version of VirtualBox that differentiates itself from the 'corporate' subscription-based version, VirtualBox OSE. fyi:

          Dietrich T. Schmitz, ~ Your Linux Advocate
  • RE: SkySQL will try to drive MySQL fork, Oracle's ouster

    This reminds me of the dBase and Xbase debacle and all the clones that resulted like FoxPro that eventually fragmented and killed dBase many years ago.
    • Fragmentation didn't kill xBase...

      xBase was killed by MS Access becoming a part of Office, combined with the DBase IV update (which was .... unfortunate). I remember watching the demand for xBase programming shrink rapidly as the demand for Access programming soared. And making Access simple to use in Visual Basic ensured the marginalization of xBase databases.
  • There's always PostgreSQL & FirebirdSQL

    It'd be nice if someone did a showdown between PostgreSQL, FirebirdSQL, and SkySQL (er MySQL). Then again, all 3 have an excellent lineage and have earned praise from their respective communities.

    - Max "The IT Pro"
    • I went with PostgreSQL development myself after looking at MySQL

      and several other open source DBMSs, including Firebird.

      I may eventually have to migrate to MSSQL, but right now, PostgreSQL has virtually the same functionality as the major SQL offerings from Oracle and Microsoft.
  • RE: SkySQL will try to drive MySQL fork, Oracle's ouster

    Corporations are great! With corporations you can build a profitable business and make money, as well create something to plainly give a middle finger to some larger company or former employer just because people just can.
  • RE: SkySQL will try to drive MySQL fork, Oracle's ouster

    Can someone show me where it's said that Oracle will let MySQL down? If you go to the Oracle page, you'll see more stuff about MySQL seminars, docs, forums, etc., than you do on Oracle DB of any stripe. Oracle has clearly stated its position regarding MySQL, and that doesn't include "killing" MySQL. Incidentally, Oracle participates very heavily in open source and contributes a lot of software (TopLink, Eclipse, etc.).
    • There is a conflict of interest here. Oracle can not let MySQL get too good

      or it will cannibalize their bread and butter database. So, they will have no interest in making MySQL as good as in can be.

      A fork by some highly motivated individuals will fix that.
  • why not work with Monty and MariaDB?

    Why they need to fork MariaDB? The guy behind the original MySQL is putting his money and efforts to get it up and running and this guys want to make yet another fork and disperse resources?

    He was in Panama last two days to talk about effort to get MariaDB to be the Open Source option. He had a nice chat with the community here.
  • RE: SkySQL will try to drive MySQL fork, Oracle's ouster

    By the mid 1980's there were a number of database vendors who had already made the claim that their DBMS was in reality an RDBMS. Previously known as Relational Software, Oracle Corporation released the first commercially available database management system packaged with a DBMS Language of its own called SQL (Structured Query Language).
  • The competition is based on Support and Services

    SkySQL and MySQL will both be available, but what does the user want? To pay money for Oracle's version or rely on the community from SkySQL. To me, Oracle is playing the "one step beyond trail versions" where they limit the software for their Open Source versions allowing the user the basis of the software operation, but the extra eye candy or Mainstream usage / development & support you would have to pay for.
  • ego kills businesses resistant to change

    This is another example of the futile attempt by mega corp like Oracle to kill mysql or to leverage its user base while only superficially improving the technology. Unfortunately when money alone drives the direction of people and the business they run, it cannot be compatible with the spirit of open source. For Oracle to truly embrace the spirit of open source would be like asking a devout Christian to become agnostic or vice versa. Not a chance in hell!!